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392                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
clearly that his ambition could not be realized unless he
was supported by a united tribe, he forgave the Kajar
chiefs who had killed his father and had insulted himself,
and bound them to him by repeated acts of kindness.
He showed his judgment and insight by the unreserved
trust he reposed in Haji Ibrahim ; although, according
to common belief, he warned his heir that he was too
powerful a subject to be allowed to live. He treated his
soldiers with justice, and, if policy demanded it, he could
display moderation, the rarest of qualities in a despot.
As we have seen in his dealings with Shah Rukh,
avarice was a besetting vice. One of his methods of
making money was to sell an intended victim to an
enemy, with full powers to wring out the last coin
in the wretched man's possession. In the pursuit of
money he displayed a childishness which is not un-
frequently associated with absolute power. He once
overheard a peasant whose ears he had ordered to be
cut off promising the executioner a few pieces of silver
if only the tips were cut. The offender was astonished
when the Shah informed him that, by doubling the offer
in favour of his sovereign, he could save his ears entirely !
Aga Mohamed's cruelty has been sufficiently exempli-
fied. Of his treachery it will be enough to give a single
instance. His brother, Jafar Kuli Khan, who had served
him with conspicuous valour, asked for the governorship
of Isfahan as a reward. This was refused, and, as he
subsequently evaded a request to appear at Court, Aga
Mohamed became seriously alarmed. Fearing to employ
force, he induced Jafar Kuli's mother to persuade her
son that the Shah was ready to appoint him to Isfahan,
on the sole condition that he should pass through Teheran
and declare his forgiveness for the treatment he had
received. These representations were supported by solemn
assurances of safety. The Prince, too confiding, believed
them, and was assassinated by order of his brother. The
latter, in order to keep the letter of his oath on the Koran
that Jafar Kuli should spend only one night at Teheran,
had the corpse immediately removed. This dastardly
act recalls the dark deeds attributed to Louis XL of